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Potential East Kent merger: Ashford Borough Council

Potential East Kent merger

Potential East Kent Councils merger


The district councils of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet have been looking into the feasibility of establishing a new single council for East Kent.

Councillors from all five authorities agreed in July 2016 to explore the advantages and disadvantages of a merger and to examine how a new single council could operate.

The purpose of a potential merger was set out in a Statement of intent [pdf] 154KB agreed by all the councils.

As a result, work has been progressing on a ‘Business Case’ which the councils commissioned the Local Government Association and Local Partnerships to prepare.

Work on the Business Case is now complete.

Five becomes four

On the basis of the findings from a five way Business Case:

  • The councils of Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet are to consider a four-way Business Case.

If this is approved, it would see the abolition of the existing local government district areas and the creation of a new single East Kent council, which would be the largest of its kind in the country.

Read the five-way business case  [pdf] 2MB

Read the four-way business case [pdf] 1MB

Next steps

Meetings will be held to formally consider the next steps within each council in February and March.

Further meetings of the authorities involved

Thurs 9 Feb

Ashford Cabinet

Thurs 16 Feb

Thanet Cabinet

Thurs 16 Feb

Ashford Full Council

Thurs 2 March

Thanet Scrutiny

Weds 1 March

Dover Cabinet

Tues 7 March

Shepway Cabinet

Thurs 9 March

Thanet Cabinet

Tues 14 March

Dover Scrutiny

Mon 20 March

Dover Cabinet

Weds 22 March

Canterbury Policy and Resources Committee

Weds 22 March

Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet Council meetings


If a decision is taken on 22 March to progress this further, the following programme of activity would take place:

Further timetable for the four remaining authorities

Public engagement

Spring 2017

Final decision

Autumn 2017

Secretary of state approval

Autumn 2017

New council legally takes effect

April 2019

Elections to the new council

May 2019


Further information

You can read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which were published ahead of publication of the Business Case. Please note that updated FAQs are currently being developed and will be available soon.



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